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HulkieD

WWE Network: The Future of TV

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I noted this in the Pro Wrestling thread, but I wanted to spin this off into its own thread.

 

WWE announced their long-awaited WWE Network service last night. It will not be available on cable or satellite. It will be made available over the Internet, through streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, game consoles. No cable subscription will be required. It will cost $10 a month with a six month commitment - you'll pay monthly, but if you cancel early they'll charge you for the remainder. That $10 a month will give you access to:

  • A 24/7 linear WWE Network with library programming, new originals, pregame and postgame shows for Raw and Smackdown, and other new programming.
  • An on-demand library with programming from all the libraries WWE owns, which includes classic 80s and 90s WWF, WCW, Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA, ECW, Mid-South Wrestling, AWA, etc.
  • Access to every pay-per-view ever, from WWE, WCW, and ECW.
  • All 12 of WWE's pay-per-views, LIVE, which air roughly each month.

That last point is really the biggie, because those PPVs INCLUDE WRESTLEMANIA. Wrestlemania is $70 alone. You're paying $10 less for Wrestlemania, while getting five additional shows, plus god knows what else. It's ballsy, because the WWE just killed its biggest revenue stream. But they've cut out the middleman. They'll get more money per month by 1-2 milion subs paying $120 a year than maybe 100,000 paying upwards of $600. Plus, they're seeking a big money contract deal for their TV shows - RAW and Smackdown would remain on cable.

 

If you want to know how big a deal this is, replace "WWE" with, oh, let's say Disney. This would be a service that would offer a live stream of the Disney Channel, plus every single thing ever produced or owned by the Walt Disney Company. Every Mickey Mouse cartoon. Every animated feature. Every episode of "Hannah Montana". Plus every Disney film they release each year - on the day they arrive in theatres. And this would be available to all, cord-cutters included. That is what this is equivalent to.

 

I'm hesitating on calling Vince McMahon a visionary, a pioneer, and all those terms, since there are so many self-produced WWE documentaries that call him that. But I can't think of any other words to describe what his company just did. People have been waiting for television to move from the shackles of overpriced cable subscriptions to a market where the consumer gets to pick what he or she wants. The WWE just did exactly that. This could change everything.

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Yeah when I was watch the Press Conference last night for this All I could think of how much of a game changer it is. Cost wise, I'll admit I'm probably will be getting the network when it premieres. To If this is the future of TV, You have to consider things Like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast replacing the cable box. People are already doing that right now. With Digital TV, Netflix, Aero TV and other new technologies coming It is getting harder to justify paying $80 a month to a cable operator when you can get that for better cost via the net.

 

If WWE Network is successful at doing this, I won't be surprised to see others media outlets do this very soon as the big 4 already offer shows via streaming services already. As for Local News, This is interesting because I could see them doing that if they are committed to it. Strangely, I can see Sinclair trying something like this in the future. As to would it work, People want to see their news live if they are watching it.

 

So much to think about here. Pretty good topic here.

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Speaking of WWE Network, I'm thinking of subscribing next month as well, and I'm hoping the quality will be exactly the same as watching a live wrestling event on TV.

 

I also think that getting all 12 Pay Per View's for only a $10 subscription makes a lot of sense. With the economy still going down the gutter, it's very hard for a lot of people to pay so much for PPV events, whether it's WWE, UFC, Boxing, or whatever.

 

With the launch of the WWE Network, I'm pretty sure this will change the way we watch and follow the sport of professional wrestling forever.

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Personally I'm not a huge wrestling fan but I think this is a real smart idea and it would be nice if other content providers were to follow a similar model.

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This makes a lot of sense. As internet adoption increases, content providers are beginning to see that there's a large, growing market of internet users who would pay a bit each month to see content that, with cable/satellite/IPTV, they could only see if they purchased a bundle with 200+ other channels of crap. As cord cutting increases in scope, you'll see large content providers begin to tailor streaming and on-demand services to them. It wouldn't make sense to see such a large market fall by the wayside.

 

Of course, there's a very big problem that must be addressed in order for something like this to be more universally adopted. In a perfect world, cable channels would be unbundled and a la carte, so the customer could choose what channels to watch. Of course, a lot of channels would disappear as they aren't particularly successful and are subsequently being supported by large retransmission fees charged by content providers, like the whole "if you want ESPN, you'll have to carry twenty other channels of crap"; without those (for lack of a better term) subsidies, they would go away. Not that it would matter, the market would decide which channels are popular enough to be financially viable. This isn't necessarily the cable/satellite/IPTV provider's fault, but rather that of the content providers.

 

However, reality shows us that this isn't a perfect world. Instead, you'll see (and are already seeing) cable companies and telcos implement data caps on internet services. Here in Atlanta, Comcast has begun "trials" (yeah right) of an across-the-board 300GB cap, regardless of speed tier. It may seem like a lot, but believe me, Netflix/Roku/Hulu adoption, combined with the growth of online downloading of games, online backups, and yes, even streaming services like these will make that 300GB seem like a lot less. Add in the soon-to-arrive 4K television, and well...the fact that an organization like the WWE is engaging in a project like this is astounding, but if you really want other content providers to participate, you'll have to deal with the barrier to entry that is the data cap. Cynicism tells me that caps are an attempt to rein in cord-cutting to protect TV services; it's not at all about network congestion, as that myth was debunked a year ago by the cable lobby no less.

 

A few notes: AT&T U-verse doesn't enforce their 250GB cap at the moment. Verizon FiOS has a 10 TB soft cap. Comcast's 300GB cap trial is occurring in Atlanta, Augusta (GA), Savannah, Nashville, Jackson, Huntsville, Mobile, Knoxville, Memphis, Charleston (SC), all of Maine, and Central Kentucky; they have a speed-based variable cap in place in Tucson. Charter enforces their 100GB-500GB caps to varying degrees.

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With the launch of the WWE Network, I'm pretty sure this will change the way we watch and follow the sport of professional wrestling forever.

 

Professional wrestling? Hell, I'm pretty sure this will change the way we watch television forever. It is that big of a deal.

 

Right now, if anything, networks are getting more and more tied to cable. Sinclair, Tribune, and Gannett went on their acquisition sprees to get leverage in the fight for retransmission concent. Disney has an app that will let me stream my local ABC station, which I can get for free on the air, only if I authenticate with my cable provider, which is absolutely ridiculous. The local stations and broadcast networks are relying more and more on these cable fees because DVRs diminish the impact of advertising. And the cable companies want to keep you in their grasp.

 

In other words, they're all screaming "TEH INTERNET IS GOING TO RUIN US FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRR".

 

WWE is the first major content provider, niche though it may be, to outright go and say, "you know what? Cable isn't the future. Internet distribution is. We'll get more of the income than we get from our pay-per-views while making it more available and more affordable to our fans." Vince gets more money. Fans get a metric ton of content. Pirated streams will go by the wayside because of an affordable legal option. Honestly, it's win-win-win.

 

Is it going to be perfect? Probably not. The vintage shows might be advertised as "uncut and uncensored", but they'll have to be edited. Entrance music, for example - there's some stuff they can't use. Hulk Hogan's original WWF entrance music was "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor - in all WWE releases of early Hulkamania, they overdub it with "I Am a Real American". They'll probably have to dub over Hollywood Hogan's entrance music, too - He used Voodoo Child by Hendrix, which is just a god damn awesome song to begin with.

 

There are encouraging signs, though. WWE is called WWE because of trademark issues with the World Wildlife Fund. The court ruling was ridiculous - not only could "WWF" not be used going forward, it was made retroactive. While they could still use "World Wrestling Federation" and the original WWF logo from the 80s, the Attitude-era "scratch" logo was considered illegal and had to be blurred out. In addition, all audio and plain text references to "WWF" had to be muted, blurred, or replaced. They finally reached a settlement last year. WWE can't promote any of the footage as "WWF", and they can't use any WWF logo in new productions, but they can air it unaltered. Likewise, the promotion has pretended Chris Benoit never existed and deleted all of his matches. Benoit matches can air now, but a disclaimer will be aired beforehand.

 

 

 

This makes a lot of sense. As internet adoption increases, content providers are beginning to see that there's a large, growing market of internet users who would pay a bit each month to see content that, with cable/satellite/IPTV, they could only see if they purchased a bundle with 200+ other channels of crap. As cord cutting increases in scope, you'll see large content providers begin to tailor streaming and on-demand services to them. It wouldn't make sense to see such a large market fall by the wayside.

 

Of course, there's a very big problem that must be addressed in order for something like this to be more universally adopted. In a perfect world, cable channels would be unbundled and a la carte, so the customer could choose what channels to watch. Of course, a lot of channels would disappear as they aren't particularly successful and are subsequently being supported by large retransmission fees charged by content providers, like the whole "if you want ESPN, you'll have to carry twenty other channels of crap"; without those (for lack of a better term) subsidies, they would go away. Not that it would matter, the market would decide which channels are popular enough to be financially viable. This isn't necessarily the cable/satellite/IPTV provider's fault, but rather that of the content providers.

 

However, reality shows us that this isn't a perfect world. Instead, you'll see (and are already seeing) cable companies and telcos implement data caps on internet services. Here in Atlanta, Comcast has begun "trials" (yeah right) of an across-the-board 300GB cap, regardless of speed tier. It may seem like a lot, but believe me, Netflix/Roku/Hulu adoption, combined with the growth of online downloading of games, online backups, and yes, even streaming services like these will make that 300GB seem like a lot less. Add in the soon-to-arrive 4K television, and well...the fact that an organization like the WWE is engaging in a project like this is astounding, but if you really want other content providers to participate, you'll have to deal with the barrier to entry that is the data cap. Cynicism tells me that caps are an attempt to rein in cord-cutting to protect TV services; it's not at all about network congestion, as that myth was debunked a year ago by the cable lobby no less.

 

A few notes: AT&T U-verse doesn't enforce their 250GB cap at the moment. Verizon FiOS has a 10 TB soft cap. Comcast's 300GB cap trial is occurring in Atlanta, Augusta (GA), Savannah, Nashville, Jackson, Huntsville, Mobile, Knoxville, Memphis, Charleston (SC), all of Maine, and Central Kentucky; they have a speed-based variable cap in place in Tucson. Charter enforces their 100GB-500GB caps to varying degrees.

 

More pressing than home broadband caps are mobile broadband caps, which are set absurdly low. With a 4G LTE phone, you will hit the default 2GB cap on Verizon really, really fast. Given how much has already moved to mobile networks, this is something that needs to change at some point.

 

I don't know if home broadband caps will really take, honestly. Of all the providers, Verizon FiOS' soft cap is the only one that is actually realistic given their speeds (and I've probably come close to that a few times). On the new generation of consoles, digital games - and I am probably going to be digital-only on my PS4 - can easily get up to 50 gigs. Six games would hit that cap.

 

But I think cord cutting is a real phenomenon and something that can't be stopped. Honestly, if I didn't live with my dad I'm not so sure I'd have cable. I watch very little of it - news and sports programming are what I tend to gravitate towards. The WWE Network is just one more reason to cut the cord.

 

Not surprised. Honestly, I actually expected more blowback, especially from Dish, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable. I don't think it'll change anything. Even though Vince changes his mind regularly on everything, on decisions like these he tends to stay the course. I mean, there are at least three occasions where his company damn near went under, and he managed to bounce back every time.

 

Now after all this, I just want to say that I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to gorge on anything that has Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan commentating.

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Since I have time to compile my thoughts I'll give my analysis. I think this whole venture could face a pretty big uphill battle. I'll try to back up my thoughts with some numbers on why I think this way.

 

I noted this in the Pro Wrestling thread, but I wanted to spin this off into its own thread.

 

WWE announced their long-awaited WWE Network service last night. It will not be available on cable or satellite. It will be made available over the Internet, through streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, game consoles. No cable subscription will be required. It will cost $10 a month with a six month commitment - you'll pay monthly, but if you cancel early they'll charge you for the remainder. That $10 a month will give you access to:

  • A 24/7 linear WWE Network with library programming, new originals, pregame and postgame shows for Raw and Smackdown, and other new programming.
  • An on-demand library with programming from all the libraries WWE owns, which includes classic 80s and 90s WWF, WCW, Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA, ECW, Mid-South Wrestling, AWA, etc.
  • Access to every pay-per-view ever, from WWE, WCW, and ECW.
  • All 12 of WWE's pay-per-views, LIVE, which air roughly each month.

That last point is really the biggie, because those PPVs INCLUDE WRESTLEMANIA. Wrestlemania is $70 alone. You're paying $10 less for Wrestlemania, while getting five additional shows, plus god knows what else. It's ballsy, because the WWE just killed its biggest revenue stream. But they've cut out the middleman. They'll get more money per month by 1-2 milion subs paying $120 a year than maybe 100,000 paying upwards of $600. Plus, they're seeking a big money contract deal for their TV shows - RAW and Smackdown would remain on cable.

 

[snip]

 

Not surprised. Honestly, I actually expected more blowback, especially from Dish, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable. I don't think it'll change anything. Even though Vince changes his mind regularly on everything, on decisions like these he tends to stay the course. I mean, there are at least three occasions where his company damn near went under, and he managed to bounce back every time.

I kind of expect that blowback as well. I think DirecTV was very quick out of the gate to go public voicing their displeasure. I'm sure all other MVPD's are thinking the same thing they just haven't stated it...yet. WWE has now essentially valued their PPV's at $10 (or, free depending upon how you want to look at it.) So, Vince in one fell swoop just devalued his product and (basically) cut out his business partners, the MVPD's, by distributing directly.

 

Just some rough numbers to chew on based upon the data for the last 12 available PPV's (TLC '12 - Survivor Series '13):

Avg. PPV buyrate: 294,500

Total PPV revenue: $174,573,300 (strictly based on SD retail price. I have not found any breakouts on SD/HD.)

WWE's PPV revenue: $87,286,650 (based upon the 50/50 split referenced in the LA Times article linked above.)

 

Let's assume the remaining $87,286,650* is split between the MVPD's equal to their market share:

Comcast WWE PPV revenue: $18,216,723 (20.87% of cable/sat households)

DirecTV WWE PPV revenue: $16,628,106 (19.05% of cable/sat households)

Dish WWE PPV revenue: $11,644,039 (13.34% of cable/sat households)

TWC WWE PPV revenue: $10,116,522 (11.59% of cable/sat households)

Verizon WWE PPV revenue: $3,910,441 (4.48% of cable/sat households)

The remainder would be be split amongst the remaining MVPD's

 

It's a nice chunk of cash. However, that dollar amount is surely to be eroded by x% of people who move to WWE Network to get the PPV's. And, if the MVPD's have to lower the price x% to compete (or, match) WWE Network that dollar amount goes even lower. So, as an MVPD at what point do you say "to hell with it." Why would you want to continue to business with someone who is undercutting you?**

 

OK, so let's say all the MVPD's say "You are on your own" to the WWE. In order to get back to square one and maintain the same PPV revenue they currently get they would have to average 727,389 subscribers per month to WWE network at the current $10/mo. rate. Variety stated Raw, WWE's flagship program, was averaging a 2.2 household rating (or, roughly 2,543,200 households.) Stated another way they would need to have a little more than 1 of every 4 households currently viewing their flagship program subscribe to WWE Network. Again, that's just to get back to where they are now. And, The whole goal of WWE Network was to monetize the vast library of content they have accumulated over the years. So, at that point in order to be sustainable long-term you'd have to raise the $10/mo. rate or hope for considerably more subscribers. On the flip side I'm sure Vince & Co. are banking on a big pay day for the weekly TV rights to make up that difference if need be.

 

 

* Doesn't include any "HD Fees" or "Ordering Fees" paid to the MVPD's

 

** Yes, I'm aware of MLB.tv, NHL Game Center, NBA League Pass Online. The big difference is those products are targeted at the individual consumer and not commercial businesses. It's next to impossible for a commercial business (ie: sports bar, etc) to use one of these services and achieve the same result as MLB EI, NHL CI & NBA LP via MVPD's. The MVPD's make their money on the sports PPV packs via their commercial accounts. DirecTV has thrown ridiculous sums of money at the NFL for Sunday Ticket to maintain their stranglehold on sports bars. Any residential subscribers they get are gravy.

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[interesting and thoughtful piece edited]

 

 

Very, very good analysis. Took me awhile to write a response. Anyway, you can't strictly go by the numbers. There are a number of variables at play here.

 

The significant one is that all of WWE's TV contracts are expiring at the same time. Collectively, they get $135 million. Let's say, oh, that goes to $300 mil. WWE might be "sports entertainment", but the "sports" half is important because sports are one of the few things networks are willing to pay for as they are DVR-proof. WWE is offering to turn Smackdown into a live show as well, which would help increase its numbers. Most of Raw's numbers are live + same day. Plus, the ratings, while not near the highs of the Monday Night Wars or the Attitude Era, are still quite good. Advertisers also seem to have realized that people who watch wrestling are an attractive demographic. If WWE is able to get a figure like that - which seems doable - then that's all the lost revenue from the PPVs coming right back.

 

Also, as far as buyrates go, I don't think an average buyrate is an accurate assessment. Very, very few people order all 12 PPV events. Many just order Wrestlemania. That got 664,000 domestic, twice that of the second largest, which is Royal Rumble. Most others hover at or below the 100,000 range domestically. It's unclear whether Wrestlemania will be offered by the network next year, either.

 

As for sports bars, well, that's why WWE isn't eliminating the PPV option going forward. The Network will obviously be what the consumer wants to take, but sports bars and businesses would be what the WWE would market their PPVs towards.

 

But let's take out all the other pay-per-views. Let's just look at those 700,000 (rounding it up) who got Mania and only Mania, and multiply that by $60. That's $42 million right there. Assuming a 50/50 split, that's $21 million. Now, let's say that WWE Network gets a million people to sign up for it. Since it's a six-month commitment, you're also paying $60. And instead of WWE getting half, let's say they get 80%, with the rest covering streaming services and such. That'd be $48 million going directly to the company. Double that number to cover an entire year, and that's $96 million. That's almost $10 million more than the number you stated above. And that's assuming DirecTV, Dish, and InDemand (the PPV consortium that Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and Bright House own) dump WWE.

 

One more risk factor - we've already seen they've pissed off DirecTV. The main question now is how pissed off Comcast is. Comcast owns NBCUniversal, and there's the potential they just hurt their chances of renewing with them. Anyone who thinks WWE has leverage is delusional, I think. They can threaten to move Raw and Smackdown to the network - and their potential partners could say "okay, have fun with that untested revenue stream!" They need a TV deal.

 

So I definitely agree - this is a very big risk WWE is taking. They just blew up one of their biggest revenue streams. But then again I think I can name at least four occasions when the WWE damn near went under. Syndication expansion. WrestleMania. Steroid scandal. Montreal. Any of those could have killed the company, but they were able to either pull it off or adapt to survive. This is typical Vince McMahon. Yes, they have ego-stroking documentaries lauding him as a visionary, but in some cases that's probably accurate.

 

That 1 million subscriber mark is reportedly what they want to reach, the point where it becomes profitable for them. Is it doable? Judging from the excitement I've seen on and offline, I think there's a demand for it. And WWE knows how to hype things like nobody else. They overdo twitter, but they can get the word out like nobody else.

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Just what I've been waiting for. I'm not a wrestling person, but it sounds like a very important sport to people out there. My only concern is that viewers will switch completely to on-demand and abandon the linear content model. I admit that I'd sometimes rather have food (content) served to me.

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Just what I've been waiting for. I'm not a wrestling person, but it sounds like a very important sport to people out there. My only concern is that viewers will switch completely to on-demand and abandon the linear content model. I admit that I'd sometimes rather have food (content) served to me.

 

It's already happening. People are using their consoles or Apple TVs or Rokus to consume content from the cloud.

 

I don't think the linear model will go away entirely. WWE Network is actually a real network, with a real schedule, that streams over the Internet. The on-demand content is just gravy.

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It's already happening. People are using their consoles or Apple TVs or Rokus to consume content from the cloud.

 

I don't think the linear model will go away entirely. WWE Network is actually a real network, with a real schedule, that streams over the Internet. The on-demand content is just gravy.

 

Internet streaming is notoriously unreliable. While its a good idea, there will no doubt be dropouts and buffering. That's why linear won't go away for awhile. Linear is reliable.

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Internet streaming is notoriously unreliable. While its a good idea, there will no doubt be dropouts and buffering. That's why linear won't go away for awhile. Linear is reliable.

 

The speed and quality of Internet connections are getting better and better all the time. MLB.tv is powering the service and they're pretty good at keeping streams up and working.

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When I heard that MLB.tv is powering the service, I instantly thought of that as the biggest move that WWE could do. It will be interesting to see the numbers after year one.

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It's heeeeeeere...

 

The network launched shortly before 9am yesterday - I was able to grab my subscription at like, 8:50am.

 

Which is kind of important because they're having the usual first-day crush of subscribers and a free week trial for everyone on top of that. They should have done some sort of pre-order thing with this to lessen the load. However, I would have been much more shocked if the first day DIDN'T have any issues.

 

Basically, the main issue is that while the live stream is performing admirably, the video on demand content is apparently what most people are going for, since it's a pain to get it going. Obviously it's something they can fix and it's not something I'd have a hissy fit about. And let's be honest - it bodes well for the network if they're overwhelming MLBAM's servers this badly.

 

Quality is very good, although it's at 30fps, which means it looks a bit "computery".

 

Every WWF/WWE/ECW/WCW PPV is indeed in there. Unfortunately, they don't include the NWA/WCW Clash of the Champions in there - PPV-quality cards they aired on TBS - and they should have, I think. Mostly because the second match of the famous Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat feud from 1989 was on a Clash, and the other two were on PPV, so you're getting the first and the third parts, but not the middle.

 

In fact, the "vault" section is looking a bit slim right now. They have one episode of World Class, a couple of WWF MSG cards, a few random ECWs, and a "Legends of Wrestling" show they used to run on Classics on Demand, their cable on demand service. (Hey, we got a Shockmaster episode in.) I don't expect it to stay that way, because there are tons and tons of content that they've only just begun to mine.

 

All the content is "uncut", or more accurately, "as uncut as we can reasonably make it". In other words, there are edits. Most of the edits are music edits, for obvious reasons. Metallica charges $1 million per performance of Enter Sandman, so all of The Sandman's entrances are pretty much ruined - though he's not the only one, as ECW used "real music", so to speak, for their entrances. WCW, in contrast, used production music for a lot of their wrestlers, most of which sound like terrible ripoffs of popular songs. If a wrestler competed in the WWE later on, they'll usually use his WWE music. Which means Chris Jericho will be walking out to "Break the Walls Down", and not Cut 16 off of Disc 37 in the Turner Music Library.

 

There are a few things that surprisingly made it through unscathed.

 

For Hulk Hogan, Real American is good and I'mma let you finish, but Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child is the best entrance music OF ALL TIME. Apparently WWE got the memo, as Voodoo Child is still his entrance music in some of their early 2000s PPVs. (The WCW PPVs replace it with the generic nWo porno music, as far as I've been able to see. They might be using home video prints for some of the WCW stuff.)

 

And, lastly, anything with "WWF" in it is uncensored for the most part. (When I was able to stream Royal Rumble 1992, there were a few moments of commentary where "WWF" was muted, but the opening is the original. The original version has Vince screaming out every name on the roster (THE UNNNNNNNNNNNNDERTAKER!!!), the edit (since Vince said "WWF") has Mean Gene doing the voiceover and much lousier music.

 

It's great so far, but access to the on demand content is really, really spotty. Just be patient as I'm sure they're working to fix.

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Guest Former Member 207

I tried to sign-up several times yesterday...after the fourth or fifth time, I just gave up. I still may do the subscription, if nothing else but to view the video library and watch WrestleMania (along with the other pay-per-views).

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I heard somewhere that those who signed up for the free trial are getting charged anyway. It's a shame that there are some significant kinks in the launch, because it is a really ambitious and interesting concept.

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I signed up and everything went okay, The only problem is that I can't watch on my Xbox 360 because of login issues. Hopefully those issues will be fixed soon.

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I heard somewhere that those who signed up for the free trial are getting charged anyway. It's a shame that there are some significant kinks in the launch, because it is a really ambitious and interesting concept.

 

To be honest? I think the launch is coming along better than I expected.

 

Honestly if the launch didn't have issues like this, I would have been more surprised. Launching a high-demand product with a significant online component is going to have some serious issues on launch day. MMOs have these problems. Diablo III had these problems. SimCity 2013 crashed in spectacular, flaming fashion on launch.

Even MLB.tv, which is run by WWE's partner on this venture, usually has a few glitches to be ironed out at launch.

 

I have pretty much every platform WWE Network is available for, so I've sampled it on everything. Best experience is by far the PlayStation apps (PS3 and PS4; PS4 is a bit smoother but both are identical otherwise) since they have chapter stops.

 

The 24/7 linear network is EXTREMELY stable and starts up virtually as soon as you load the app, which is extremely impressive. And the linear network is more fun than I expected. They're running short things like "Best of the Worst".

 

hqdefault.jpg

 

The On Demand video library is the problem, but they're working to get that fixed. Streams would start and then stop and not start again, or just not load. They're loading but still stuttery.

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We're coming up to the big one - Wrestlemania 30 is going to be the biggest test on the network's infrastructure. If there aren't problems I'd be surprised. Not knocking WWE Network one bit, there's just no way of knowing how many people will be streaming it. It's arguably the biggest live event to ever be made available mainly through streaming. (All of the WM promotion is towards the network, not PPV.)

 

But it's still on PPV, and Verizon is even running this crawl during TWC's Local on the 8s:

 

"Don't miss all of your favorite WWE Superstars as they compete in Wrestlemania 30! Watch it the way it was meant to be seen - on TV, in stunning HD quality!"

 

There's some attractiveness to this pitch, because many of the streaming services look "computery" - i.e., they stream at 30 fps and not 60 fps. WWE isn't an exception. Still, it's hard to argue against the network's appeal - $60 for all six PPVs. And WWE is certainly available on streaming boxes, so you can watch it on TV.

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From several sources including the originator of wrestlecrap.com a lot of people didn't have any issues last night with a majority of devices. As far as subscribers goes that number is at 670k as of this posting. With the lack of technical issues this can only mean good news going forward. They hold to reach one mil by the end of the calendar year and could begin international rollout as soon as this up coming fall.

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From several sources including the originator of wrestlecrap.com a lot of people didn't have any issues last night with a majority of devices. As far as subscribers goes that number is at 670k as of this posting. With the lack of technical issues this can only mean good news going forward. They hold to reach one mil by the end of the calendar year and could begin international rollout as soon as this up coming fall.

 

I think ActionNewsLove was referring to the Undertaker's streak (and the reactions that followed).

 

I did watch the WrestleMania replay on the WWE Network after purchasing a subscription over the weekend, and so far, I've been impressed despite a couple of connection hiccups along the way. Apart from the live linear stream, they've made some of their content available on-demand as well, which is good for those who may have missed a show (Raw and Smackdown not included, obviously) or want to watch it again later.

 

Still, 670,000 subscribers and growing after a month-and-a-half is an impressive start for their new venture, and the network could very well surpass 1 million by the summer if not sooner.

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I think ActionNewsLove was referring to the Undertaker's streak (and the reactions that followed).

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This is how my generation felt when Hulk Hogan dropped the leg on Savage and turned heel. (Or Montreal, take your pick.)

 

Anyway.

 

 

 

I did watch the WrestleMania replay on the WWE Network after purchasing a subscription over the weekend, and so far, I've been impressed despite a couple of connection hiccups along the way. Apart from the live linear stream, they've made some of their content available on-demand as well, which is good for those who may have missed a show (Raw and Smackdown not included, obviously) or want to watch it again later.

 

Still, 670,000 subscribers and growing after a month-and-a-half is an impressive start for their new venture, and the network could very well surpass 1 million by the summer if not sooner.

 

I had some buffering issues after the Bryan/Triple H match, and was unable to stream for a bit, but other than that it was a fine stream for a surprisingly good WrestleMania.

 

The linear stream has been the biggest surprise since I was most attracted to the vault. But Wrestlemania Rewind is pretty good, I'm digging the DVDs they're airing ("Beyond The Ring"), and who doesn't love a Countdown show? Plus the amount of original, hell, even live programming on the network is higher than what other niche networks typically provide in their first year.

 

Plus, there's more to come in both live and vintage. I wish we'd have less WWE Old School and more Old School Wrestling. Even under Vince Sr., the WWF product was big and slow, compared to the more athletic style in Georgia and in the Carolinas. Even newer stuff, when Undertaker was, ironically, a Paul Heyman Guy... well, "Mean" Mark Callous was a Paul E. Dangerously Guy...

 

People were saying 670,000 was on the "low end" - I think that's a great number. And if it doesn't include those people who signed up for Wrestlemania day of, they could easily top 700k in less than two months. I think the Network is having an effect on wrestling's popularity. My facebook stream included people setting up their first-ever Wrestlemania parties. Raw spiked huge this week.

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670 to 700 thousand and they want a million by the end of the year. I think it will happen. The question is how many will sign up internationally once they start bringing it overseas.

 

The other questions to be asked is what was the ppv buy rate domestically and would it combined equal what wwe made on wm29. Next ppv coming up is extreme rules. To me that would be a true gage if they are still getting more subscribers and if its a genuine success of the network.

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